"He who gives when he is asked has waited too long."
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca
When it comes to customer service, businesses should heed this quote. It happens all the time: consumers sign up for a service only to completely forget about it a month later. Then, when it comes time to renew, they end up cancelling the service because they hadn't used it and can't remember why they wanted to pay for it in the first place. If your company is in the business of reactive instead of proactive customer service, this can be costly to your reputation and your bottom line!
Let's say you own a business that provides a valuable service to consumers. When your sales rep sells a customer on your service, they promise that it will help the customer in some way or another. The customer is excited about the service at this point, and is ready to get started right after they sign the contract with your company.
Then, after the first month of service, your company makes no contact with the customer. If there is a problem, the customer has to call you to get it fixed. If they want to make changes, they need to call you. If they have questions or need assistance with the service, they have to call you. That's a lot of effort for a customer who may be busy with other things.
If their bill is paid automatically, they'll forget about your service entirely by the time their contract is up, and then cancel at the end of the contract period. They might even go online to complain about your service, and by the time you find the complaint, many others may have seen it or chimed in. Reactive service is bad for business!
Let's look at what your company could do better, if you practice proactive customer service. Instead of leaving the customer hanging, with no options but to contact your company with problems, the sales rep calls them back a month after the contract is signed. This call is to see whether they are happy with the service, or to answer any questions they may have. The customer instantly thinks, "Wow, they really do care about my needs. They are not just in it for the sale."
Then, a couple of months down the line, a customer service rep calls the customer to see if they would like to update their program. Rather than just asking the customer, "Do you want to update?" which puts the onus on the customer, the rep offers suggestions about how to improve their business by utilizing your service to the fullest. This gives the customer the impression that your service is worth continuing to pay for, and they will see the value in it when it comes time to renew their contract. They view you more as a partner rather than just a service-provider.
It can be challenging and time-consuming to implement proactive customer service, but a happy customer is well worth the effort!
Do you have any examples of how your business provides proactive customer service? Let us know in the comments!